One thing I hear, over and over from people ( women AND Men ) as we discuss Clean Eating, and the great results both in weight and health I've experienced, is a variant on the following.:
"You don't drink soda? Not at all? Oh, I wish I could stop drinking Diet Coke."
"I eat really healthy , barely anything processed - but I couldn't give up Diet Coke."
" I am a Diet Coke fiend!"
Over and over, I hear some form of the phrases above.
There are 3 very valid reasons to use your logical brain and put aside diet sodas of all kinds. This article Artificial Sweetened Beverages: Cause for Concern recently appeared in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association - the US' leading medical journal and association.
Boiled down, it says:
1. Our body gets confused by artificial sweeteners – the dissociation between sweet taste and calorie intake may put the regulatory system that controls hunger and body weight out of sync, thus sabotaging weight loss plans. A study on rodents showed that those fed saccharin actually gained weight compared to rodents fed sucrose.
2. We’re “Infantilizing” our taste sense – Artificial sweeteners are a hundredfold sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). By getting ourselves used to so much sweet, normal sweet flavors, of fruit for example, become bland and so do other healthful foods such as grains and vegetables, thus reducing our willingness to consume them and ultimately the quality of our diet.
**I can attest to #2. My taste buds have changed so dramatically that now, I find fruit and vegetables sweet and my mouth recognizes and registers pleasure from eating them - not from junk food and soda like before.
3. Long term effects unclear – while there have been many studies on artificial sweeteners and disease such cancer, very few focused on long term weight gain. A seven year study, (San Antonio Heart Study), showed a relationship between diet drink consumption and obesity, but the causation is not clear. Consumption of artificial sweeteners is growing yearly. There are studies currently underway right now to back up findings that there is a direct link between diet soda consumption and increased stroke risk.
Think about it. These 3 points above equal a food that is unclean. It messes with your body's natural response to food - interrupting the machinations built in so you crave wholesome, natural foods - and subvert it to crave junk food...increasingly sugary, fatty, unhealthy food. Reason enough to leave it be. But the kicker is: scientists are now pinning diet soda consumption on multiple real health concerns : obesity, cancer, strokes.
I used to have a love affair with Diet Coke. I'm really glad we broke up.